Maybe, Just Maybe

Four years. 

At first I thought that my actions insured the consequence of my having to rely solely on myself to survive. I believed that getting a divorce meant God could (or would) not bless me, support me, or assist me, but then he caused things to fall into place (behind the scenes) when I would run into obstacles, enabling me to overcome and move forward.
Because of these occurrences, I adjusted my thinking to accept that God allowed the rain to fall on the just and the unjust – But there was something else. 

He was carrying me. 
I was blinded by pain and I knew it. 

I couldn’t see where I was going. I was stumbling on the path, yet He was there for those blind years, leading, guiding, showing me which way to turn when I came up against a wall. 
Little by little, God has continued to draw me closer, and I have learned that He still wants relationship with this broken woman, which blows me away. I’m still smudged with soot on the inside of me, like a fireplace chimney.

When I first found the Lord, my life changed dramatically. I wanted to do great things for Him, big big things, but I didn’t do great things at all, in fact, my life was something I was often ashamed of.

What if…

What if I, like Sarah, tried to make things happen in my own strength due to my own natural reasoning, instead of simply living and obeying God while allowing Him to do what He has always done,

Bring it to pass –
In His way

In His Time

By His Spirit.

Do I understand God’s grace spilling onto my life?

No, nor do I advise going through a divorce to learn about His unconditional love, and faithfulness,

But I marvel as He continues to call me even still.

It causes flickers of hope to ignite within my depths that maybe, just maybe, God’s original plan for my life will be realized just yet.

– leah

I am no bird. No net ensnares me.

This may be one of my favorite quotes in the world.
And it’s so hard to choose just one.

Being in a very authoritarian marriage, where our church preached something called “Spiritual Authority”, a concept backed up by many biblical scriptures,
A woman was to submit to her husband whenever there was an impasse in decision making.

Example, (a benign one)
Man wants to spend 100$ on item A.
Woman wants to spend 100$ on item B.
Conflict.
Man pulls submission card.
The end.

Maybe the woman’s choice was for the family instead of herself.
Maybe it was the wiser choice.

If a man is not humble enough to consider the intelligence of his wife…

If a man is selfish and has lost sight of his mission to be a servant to his family, to follow the example of Christ, who washed the feet of all twelve of his disciples,
Who died for them and for us,

If a man is short-tempered, and full of himself, loving himself before his wife and children,
He could snap at his wife right away, pulling the “I’m the boss around here.” reminder card out of his pocket, and silencing her.

I didn’t do many things I wanted to do because I obeyed.
I didn’t work,
Attend college,
Or Pursue a career.

Grow as a human.
As an intellectual.

I educated myself with Readers Digest Classics and other books I’d check out or purchase.

Mi mente tenia hambre.
My mind was hungry.

What a revelation, to read _Jane Eyre_.
To read of a girl, lost and rejected, mistreated,
Then placed in an orphanage to be mistreated further, but to find a friend who taught her about God.

There, Jane and Helen learned what true godliness was, even as religion in its unyielding granite-like hardness oppressed them.

They created a warm nucleus of friendship and learning of Christ and they existed that way until Helen died.

Jane is plain.
And poor.
But her spirit found expression in her resolve to survive and in her sketches.

And a very strong and stern man fell in love with her.

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He was married, though, to a mentally-infirmed woman watched over night and day by nurses he hired.
He fell in love with Jane and asked her to run away with him as man and wife where no one would know them.

During this moment of decision, she finds strength to rise up from within, to remain true to her values despite her desperate desire to say yes, and she protects her individuality, preserving her freedom.

Charlotte Brontê, alias Currer Bell,
In the 1800s,
Was setting women free in their hearts through her writing.

She sets people free today.
She lies in a grave but her words remain full of life,
Full of deliverance.

Exhortation to stand.
To not deny one’s self.
To allow the soul to branch out into greatness.
Despite what others, even those loved most, say.

I look back at the history of intermittent  violence in my marriage with a bit of shame.

My cousin (who survived cancer) asked me one night,
She and I were lying in bed together last August, for she’d come up from the Carolinas for a family reunion after her strength returned,
and we slept in the same room…
She asked me, “Why did you stay?”

How do I explain to my cousin, a fighter of, and victor over the invisible clutches of cancer, why I would stay in such a union, when I could have simply got into a car and driven away from it?

I had many answers and zero answers.

There ::is:: a helpless remorse that accompanies regret, and if I allowed it to, it would destroy me.
Like a thick gray cloud of smoke invades the lungs, remorse would invade any man’s senses until they ceased to try anymore.
It’s an ugly emotion and must be taken by the horns and forced to do good in a mind.

Become fuel that drives a body to rise up from ashes and live better.
Stronger.

No net of guilt.
No net of anguish.

Instead,
A Strong-Hearted human being who is NOT a trembling bird,
But a human with…
An independent will
That won’t be bent or twisted into a warped thing ever again.

The only chains I will ever have,
will be the chains that bind my heart to the heart of God,
who loved me ,
who designed me ,
who gave himself for me,
and who saw each tear when they fell.

Golden bonds of love we have,
Holding us together.

And it is He who works in me still,
Both to desire,
And do,
His will.
Even as he’s given me my own,
And the freedom that goes with it.

God Bless Currer Bell.
And Jane.
And Helen Burns who died prematurely,
But not before she shone the light of true Christianity in the freezing corridors where religion cast its shadow.

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-leah

Root Them Out

Today’s thoughts. 

I face painted a twin boy, once, whose twin had died.
He was four or five.
His mother told me in whispers that the brother died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head.
His father in prison.
He hit the child too hard in anger.

It is difficult to convey the turmoil and struggle for control as I painted the boy whose brother was killed,
trying to smile and be light-hearted while mom whispered a nightmarish story into my ear.

What they asked me to paint was the brother’s name on his arm. 
I did my job,
Compartmentalizing the horror, jamming my reaction into a box and shoving it down to contemplate later while I smiled and talked to the child whose arm was cradled in my hand.
The child condemned to a life without his twin by one angry man who blew it.

Ask Yourself, about the people in your charge…
– What type of person removes the blossom of a flower from its stem to crush the petals?
– What person cultivates a garden only to destroy it in a fit of temper?
Mommies?
Daddies?
When you are angry, how do you behave?
Husbands?
Wives?
How do you cultivate your garden?

God gave Adam a garden and he told him to care for it.
God has given one to you, too.
It is full of roses in bloom, dogwood trees with flowering branches, tulips and snapdragons and hardy mums…
How do you treat your loved ones when you’re angry?

Do you assault them?
With hands?
With words?
With shouting?

Consider the hard things today.
Look at yourself today.
Do not hide from You.

And remove the weeds you uncover.
Ruthlessly pull them out of the soil that is yours to care for. 
The health of your garden depends on it.

Seek the Master Gardener for assistance. 
Then rise up and walk.

Only a fool would turn to the most precious items in their life and destroy them in a fit of temper.

Let’s not be that fool.

The hard things.
The ugly things.
Face them.
Acknowledge them.
And Root. Them. Out.

– Leah

As You Think

“As you think, you travel.
As you love,  you attract.
You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.
You cannot escape the result of your thoughts;
But you can endure and learn, accept and be glad.

You will realize the vision of your heart, not the idle wish.
You will gravitate toward that which you secretly most love.
Into your hands will be placed the exact result of your thoughts; you will reveive that which you earn; no more no less.

Whatever your present environment may be,
You will fall, remain, or rise with your thoughts, your vision – your ideal.”

– Source unknown

Flaws…

It does not happen all the time, but sometimes a person can love someone else so much, that the natural tendency to notice and be annoyed by flaws is outweighed by the strong affection residing deep inside.

We all notice flaws in people that we care about.

But when people love one another,
With the love that says, “Not My Will”
They discover an ingredient.
Rare, priceless, this ingredient facilitates their ability to tolerate what others would not.

And that is why some say love is blind.
But I say that true love is not blind.
I say true love sees, all too clearly.

And accepts their beloved as they are –
At face value –
Knowing
That just like rivers,
And even the face of a mountain,
The human heart can change
over time.

If I did not believe that,
I would simply despair of life.
I would even despair over my self.

– leah

Be Steady

Being true to yourself.
That phrase used to confuse me.
Who isn’t honest with themselves? 
How can you hide from yourself?

Don’t answer the questions.
I’ve discovered the answers.

You have morals and you have standards.
They will be tested.
Will you betray your own heart?

Last night a friend I care for so deeply wrote to me and told me to “Be Steady.”
They would have no way of knowing that those two words are isolated quotes from my favorite Spiderman movie.

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They are words I actually live by.
Or try to…

-“Spiderman? Are you kooky?”
I am not.
(Okay, I am. But not right now.)

That movie is deep!
It addresses many challenges, struggles, and temptations we face in life, including being true to ourselves.

Peter’s Aunt May says this: 
“I believe there’s a hero in all of us, 
that keeps us honest, 
gives us strength, 
makes us noble, 
and finally allows us to die with pride, 
even though sometimes –> we have to be steady,
and give up the thing we want the most. 
Even our dreams.”

That scene in the movie is powerful.
Those words are powerful.

I have dreams.
A lot of them.
I am already a mother, my first and favourite calling.
But,
I’d love to be a lawyer for children,
and advocate for them.
A child psychologist. 
A social worker.
A teacher.
An artist.
A singer. 
A dancer.
A poet laureate. 
The author of the next _Color Purple_.
A best friend. Loyal to the end.
A true servant of God, when no one is looking,
And the best life partner a man hoped existed even while he didn’t believe she was out there.

(Yes, I mean wife. But people have different perceptions of the word, and a wife is an equal partner in the longest three-legged race two people ever signed up for. They’re supposed to help each other to the finish line, not bicker and stumble all the way there. I could write pages on that concept, alone.)

But we have to be steady.

What is the ultimate goal before you?
Plot. Your. Course.
Do not allow temptations to divert your attention from the ultimate goal.
Do not allow seductive offers to entice you to betray your own morals.

The happiness of many depends on you.
Let the words of Aunt May, and my beloved friend, and now my own mouth settle into your soul. 

“Be steady.”

– leah

https://youtu.be/TVX-cUJGdxs

The Perfect Dress

Deep things.
I have been thinking about weddings lately. 
The dress, really.
And the preparation. 
How God tells us to be like brides, without spot or wrinkle, and he isn’t talking about our skin. 
We are to cultivate souls of rich character and integrity.
Purity. 

And I thought about us as women, as young brides.
Any age, I guess.
We have hope chests and wedding dress dreams.
But how much time to we spend on our souls?

I mean, when we walk down the aisle we want to present our future mates with the most beautiful self imaginable.
But what is in our soul?
How do we look inside?

What are we really presenting to that man at the altar?

I’m not married.
I was, but I was immature and brought many bad habits into the union.
Sure, I saw the writing on the wall, and I started attending counseling, but not before I hurt some people.

How blessed my family would have been had I truly prepared.
Had I truly focused on weeding bad roots out and planting good seeds in their place.

I do that now.
I have children to raise and I want to be the best example I can be.

One day, my single friends, a man or woman will want whatever ingredients you are made of to be in their every-single-days, and when that time comes, you will want to present them with a healthy soul, rich in integrity, genuine in word and deed, and cultivated with good healthy habits.
No Spot.
No Wrinkle.

It isn’t about the dress, the tux, the ceremony or the dinner afterward.

It’s about the soul inside of you.

…Just Thoughts…
~leah

For A Purpose

Thinking about the journey today.
Through life.
Through trials.
To God.
Then onward,
Through life.
Through trials.
With God.

How fortunate we are to have found him.
To have bowed the knee,
Surrendered the soul,
And said “Yes” when He called.

There are dots on the timeline of my life when I searched for him.
There are dots on the timeline of my life when I ran from him.
There is a BC and AD, (Before Christ and After Discovery) mark on my 18th year.
And then marks on the line showing failures, victories, and breakthroughs.
With him as companion.

But I want one thing more.
I want a bolder timeline.
Thicker.
Representing a strong life
With many little marks
Representing souls
Souls that found him
After stopping on their own journey
To ask me for directions.

There are always areas
That need improvement.
True intimacy with the living God
Should be top priority.

Then intimacy with his creation
As we tweak the thorns off of our stems.
We want to be inhaled,
Enjoyed,
By God and Man;
Therefore, the thorns must go,
So that no one bleeds
As a result of getting close enough
To touch.

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A Fragrant Invitation

Enjoy your celebration today,
Wherever you are,
Whomever you are with,
Or not with.

He who matters most is there.
And what more can we ask, really?
Than to be connected to the One
Who made us
And loved us
On purpose.

Then saved us for one.

God Bless…

~ leah

To The Man Who Loved Me To Christ

To the man who spoke to me about Jesus when I was so skeptical.
The man who told me to read the book of John first.
The man who sent me the handwritten letter  witnessing to me.
The man who was standing behind me, whose face I saw when I stood up from the altar and turned…
A changed girl, forever,

Thank you.

Wordgirl is quiet.
She has no words to convey the magnitude of her thankfulness.

I remember lying on a carpeted kitchen floor as a bitter, angry 18-year-old,
Talking on the phone with this remarkable handsome man I met and liked,
And there was something about this man,
Something persuaded me to open up about the very private things I kept to myself regarding God.

His soft voice.
His temperate patient way.
His solid responses.
He was a safe place.

The memory returns powerfully and tears stream down my cheeks.
I was lost, then…
I was in trouble…

Now, I am grateful.
I don’t take this for granted.
I don’t take any of this lightly.

This is no misplaced hero worship.
You are human, a living soul of flaws and perfection mixed together,

But you knew the value of my soul before I did.

It was God who straightened what was twisted inside of me.
But it was you who said,
“There’s someone I want to introduce you to.”.

Nothing will ever change that.
Nothing.

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It was you who said, "There's someone I want to introduce you to."

Niagra Love

Today is one those days,
Those days when I wake up and my affection is Niagra Falls.

Where are my children and my grandbaby?
I must spend every hour, every minute with them.
I wonder,
Have they seen the sunrise?
Are some of them still in bed,
Snuggled deep in blankets
with tousled hair,
warm and sleepy,
smelling sweetly
like the towels one pulls from the dryer?

The day has claimed my soul.
Every moment, every hour has been reserved.
Each one belongs to others.
It is for me to walk to each checkpoint and do the job required,
Then I will get home around 9:30 pm.
But I am not unhappy.

I am too much in love with a shy ten year old who told me, while at home, that he would not, under any circumstances,  participate in the Spelling Bee he qualified for, but stepped up to the plate when it was time, challenging himself and not faltering, to make it to third place.
The one who likes me to scratch his back at night but makes me promise not to tell this to his playmates when they come over.

I am in love with the 20 year old who works hard and always has for his work ethic is as solid as granite. He needs his mother, even though he is an adult and does not need his mother.

I am in love with the sixteen year old who is the giant of the house, the 6’2″ teddy bear who still lays his head on my shoulder when I’m driving, and calls me “Shakespeare” because of the way I speak, not realizing that his giftings lie in the same area; he speaks as creatively as he writes.
How does he not hear himself?

I am in love with the twenty-two year old who lived out of state for three years and came home when it was time to build a family, and her husband,  now my son, who has joined our beautiful broken mix of fruits and nuts yet has not withheld his heart from us.
She is song embodied.
He is affection in action.

And I am in love with their baby.
The softest dumpling grandbaby with the hazel eyes who always greets me with a smile.

It’s as if he knows that his mother is a piece of me; therefore, he is a piece of me too –
A living testament of the most beautiful things in life.
He is my whisper into tomorrow,
Proof that life goes on living,
Even when we take our place in the yesterdays.

Love like water flows from my heart,
through my veins,
and out from my fingertips
to reach the lonely today.

The girl at school that cried herself to sleep last night,
The boy who doubts himself – as we all did at that age.
The grown up who is weary, whose bills weren’t paid last month.
The woman who looks back at me in the mirror.

Humanity.
Humanity needs acceptance.
Humanity needs us.
Needs me.
Needs you.

Yes.
Today is one of those days.
And I am going to live it.
And give it
away.